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I2O           MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

Chinese to befriend the animals, but it has largely restrained
the consumption of beef. The Chinese Doctrine of the Golden
Mean has encouraged the people in the consumption of pork as
an inevitable evil and on the plea that the pig is a less useful
animal than the cow except as food. But it has driven home
to the Chinese consciousness the idea that butchery is inhuman
and displeasing to the gods. During the flood in 1933 the
Hankow local government forbade butchery for three days as
an atonement toward the river god, and this practice is
practically universal whenever there is a drought or famine.
Vegetarianism can hardly be defended on biologic grounds,
since man is born with natural carnivorous, as well as herbiv-
orous, teeth, but it can be defended on humane grounds.
Mencius was conscious of this cruelty, but being unwilling to
forgo meat entirely, he fought his way out by giving the
formula that "a gentleman kept away from the kitchen." The
fact that one does not see what happens in the kitchen eases
the Confucian conscience. This solution of the dietetic difficulty
was typical of the Doctrine of the Golden Mean. Many a
Chinese grandmother, wishing to please Buddha and not
willing to forgo meat entirely, would apply the Doctrine of
the Golden Mean in a different fashion by turning vegetarian
for a definite period from a single day to three years.

But, on the whole, Buddhism forces the Chinese people to
admit butchery as an inhuman act. This is but one conse-
quence of the doctrine of transmigration, which works for
general humaneness toward animals and one's fellow-beings.
For the consequent doctrine of retribution and the possible
soul survival in the form of a sore-ridden beggar or a flea-
ridden dog may be a more effective object-lesson for good be-
haviour than a hell of pointed knives learned by hearsay.
Actually, the true Buddhist follower is a kinder person, more
pacific, more patient, and more philanthropic, than others. His
philanthropy may not be ethically worth much, since every cent
given and every cup of tea offered to the passing stranger is an
investment in personal future happiness, and therefore
essentially selfish, but what religion does not use the same bait?
William James has wisely said that religion is the most colossal
chapter in the history of human selfishness. Man, outside the